Saturday, January 30, 2010

lazy day...

3 degrees.
That's what the temperature was this morning when I woke up.

I actually put socks on in the middle of the night because my feet were freezing, and I burrowed up next to my husband, which always feels somewhat like snuggling an old cast iron radiator (no offense hon, but you are warm and oven-like). So, so, so hard to get up and out of bed when it feels all warm and snuggly under the covers, and just so very cold cold cold out in the air.
So I stayed in bed.
Til 11:30.
Well, it IS a Saturday!

The last time I did that was like a year ago when I was really sick. I hate wasting the day sleeping in, but it just felt so darned COZY!

So anyway, the radiator got out of bed to feed the munchkins (love him!), and I just stayed warm and toasty til there was a knock on the door. It was my dad, coming for a visit. Of course I felt like a lazy bum, so I hopped out of bed and came down for some chit-chatting.
After Dad left, I decided to try my hand at these homemade cupcakes that look SO amazingly scrumptious. So I baked and baked and the house smelled yummy and got warm, and now I have a houseful of homemade cuppies with homemade butter cream frosting, and well... I think I will just stay in today...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

streaking and cell phones

My son Alex loves his cell phone. All he talked about for Christmas was an Envy 3. Blue, not red. He researched it, he saved pictures of it to the desktop computer... it was definitely big on the wish list this year. Needless to say, he was beyond excited when he received the one he was wishing for on Christmas morning.

I have found that just the threat of taking it away as punishment is really effective in curbing obnoxious behavior. Most of the time.

Tonight at dinner, Alex was doing his best to irritate me and his sisters. When he took his phone out at the table to answer a text, I decided to take it from him, as it was blatantly going against the old "no-cell-phone-at-the-table rule," and I was about to the end of my patience with his behavior.

"Maybe I will give it back tomorrow if you can behave," I said.

After being subjected to several minutes of alternately begging and trying to butter me up, he asks, "What do I have to do to get it back?"

"If you eat three spoonfuls of peas, I will give it back to you." I said, knowing full well that he could never complete this simple task.

"NO! Nooooooo Mom, you know I can't! NEVER!"

Then, he brilliantly asks me, "If I streak around the house, will you give it back to me?"

"Outside?" I asked.

"Yes!" he answers.

"Sure, go for it Alex." I said while clearing the table. I chuckled to myself again, knowing that he, as a 12-year-old modest boy, would likely never strip and make a run for it - we live in a neighborhood, and though there are no streetlights, we have neighbors on each side of us. It was like, 20 degrees out. There is, in fact, a girl from Alex's class just a few doors down. He would never chance such a thing just to get his phone back.

All of a sudden I hear the garage door slam shut, and my daughter Megan squeals, "Oh my GOSH, he's DOING IT!!!"" Wouldn't you know, I look out the back door, and see his naked behind flying through the yard.

At least he had his sneakers on.

Seconds later, the garage door slams shut again, I meet him in the front hall. Red faced and breathless, he holds his hand out and I hand over the cell phone without a word.

That kid of mine sure has some spunk.

Friday, January 22, 2010

best and worst

In our family, when we sit down at the table to have dinner, everyone shares what their best and worst of the day was. Many times answers are pretty generic, but I like that it opens things up for discussion. Like the other night Megan confessed that she got a yellow card at school because she ran in the hall (quick recap: green card is good, yellow is a warning, red is bad). She didn't mention it to me before her turn sharing "worst," so it made me feel like she felt more comfortable putting it out there that way. So of course we talked about it, consequences for behavior at school, etc. It took Brooke a long time to understand that "worst" meant bad. No matter how many times I tried to explain it to her, she'd inevitable say something like, "My best was that Mommy and I made jello, and my WORST was that Daddy came home for dinner!"
Poor Daddy.
Last night's bests and worsts:
Alex - best: someone broke their arm at the basketball game and it was really cool (nice.) worst: he had to clean all of the GARBAGE out of his room before he could play a video game.
Megan - best: she made a plan to bake and sell cookies with her friend to raise money for the victims of Haiti. worst: We didn't have pink piggy ham for dinner and she didn't get the blue car when she was playing Barbies even though she called it first.
Brooke - best: she got the blue car while playing Barbies. worst: Megan wouldn't let her use the pencil sharpener, and Mommy only played four games of Hi-Ho the Cherry-O before dinner.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

going to hollywood!

So my little buddy made the Top Five of 'TWEEN IDOL! Yay Alex! According to him, it's like being told, "You're going to Hollywood!" on American Idol. This next phase means that he will be singing his song on stage in front of a packed auditorium. Yikes. Where does he get his guts?? Not from me, that's for sure. Must be his dad, who certainly doesn't mind being the center of attention. In a million years, I would never have the nerve to get up on stage and sing alone in front of people judging me. That is definitely one of my worst nightmares! He is nervous. I am nervous for him. I guess this all takes place in two weeks, so I will post more information as it comes along.

what is a blog, anyway?

I've asked a few people what they think a blog is, and the answers seem to really range greatly.

Most people I've talked to consider a blog (a contraction of the term "web log") to be an online journal of sorts. Some people use blogs as a way to communicate with a mass of people, or just as a way to connect with family members and friends. Some people's writings are personal, locked - some people put their blogs out there for all the world to see. Some people see blogs as very self-serving - a pulpit for a person to rant and preach and spew their feelings /thoughts shamelessly.

I talked to someone this weekend that thought blogs were sort of self-indulgent - like, no offense, but who wants to read about your average, boring junk, really? Another mused that there wasn't enough time in the day to post, that it's laughable to think that what you have to say is interesting enough to even be put out there. states that "36 million women a week participate in the blogosphere." Broken down, they say that 21 million women a week read blogs and another 15 million read and publish blogs on their own. BogHer also says that blogs are considered a good source of information, advice and recommendations.

I'm writing a blog, so clearly, I am one of those that enjoy blogs. Honestly, there are millions of blogs out there in cyber-space, about thousands of different things. Parenting, politics, music, travel, religion, news, jobs, television, books, cooking, sports, families... and so very much more. Personally, I follow blogs that I can relate to. I like blogs that are uplifting. Blogs written by people that are similar to me, and some that are very different - people that experience things I wish to experience, or that I admire or aspire to be like. When I log on to read the latest postings, I often feel like I am catching up with friends. I like that there are really no hard and fast "rules," that your blog can really be anything that you want it to be. I read somewhere that blogs are like your personal "memos to the world." I like that.

Keep those memos coming...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

on being inspirational

My brother-in-law John in bunny ears, Ty & sister Jen

So my brother-in-law read this blog, and he decided it wasn't "inspirational" enough. I don't think I planned on being inspirational when I started writing this. When he heard that I was writing again to try to get myself motivated (to write again), he expected me to inspire others, or him. Or maybe myself at least.

Here are the links to the top five inspirational blogs in case you are interested, as per





I don't want to write a blog to inspire others. Or if I do happen to inspire others, I don't want to do it on purpose. I just want to write a blog for myself. I loved writing in journals growing up. I miss it, and this makes me think of that - just free writing on whatever pops in mind - I am not writing for anyone else but me, really.

But just this once, for John, who has really good constructive criticism when he is being kind, I will write a very few QUOTES that inspire me, below.

"Make peace with your past so it doesn't ruin your present."

"Stay the course."

"It's never too late to be what you might have been."

"Get rid of everything that isn't useful, beautiful or enjoyable."

a decade in review.

It just occurred to me that a whole decade has passed! So much in our little family has changed in the space of ten years... it's actually hard to believe. I wonder what I thought the next decade would bring when it turned 2000. I remember there being a lot of anxiety about the ACTUAL change from 1999 to 2000 - so much news focused on what might happen to the technological systems we'd all become so accustomed to counting on.

In the year 2000, we were a little family of FOUR. We had a 10 year old (Kara) in fifth grade and a 2 year old (Alex) in day care. Alex was working full time as a Law Clerk, was working on completing his second year of law school and was sworn in as one of the youngest Town Councilman of our town. I was transitioning from working part time at Trinity to building up my Pre-School in West Coxsackie. We were busy renovating our first home. Towards the end of the year 2000, we were so excited to find we were expecting a new baby in the summer!

In the year 2001, we welcomed our new baby girl, Megan Catherine..
In the year 2002, Alex graduated Law School,
Megan celebrated her FIRST birthday,

...we bought our camper and took a two week camping trip, before Alex took (and passed) his bar exam on the first try!

and my little buddy Alex started KINDERGARTEN!

In the year 2004, we sold our first home, and moved into an apartment while we started construction on our new house. Alex started his career as an Attorney in the law firm he had worked for since he was a teenager, and we began making plans to try to have another baby.

In 2005, we finally moved into our new home!

Kara went on a three week trip to Europe, had her first lead in the school musical and turned sweet 16,

I sold the Nursery School and we welcomed our sweet new baby girl, Brooke Allison...

In 2006, Alex began his first term as Town Supervisor,

Brookie celebrated her FIRST birthday,

Megan started KINDERGARTEN, we went to St. Thomas,

and Kara started her senior year of high school.

In 2007, We all went to Florida with Dad and Wendy to celebrate his being cancer-free.

Kara graduated from high school with honors and started college, Alex started middle school.
In 2008, I went to my high school reunion, Brookie started her first year of PRE-SCHOOL at Little Wonders.

2009, Megan celebrated her First Holy Communion, We spent our 10th year vacationing in the Outer Banks with family,

Alex started playing modified soccer for the middle school, and my ever-so-hardworking husband got an awesome promotion to Of Council at his firm.

What a decade!
2010, Let the fun begin...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

oh my white chicken chili!

Last night I made this chili, and it was FANTASTIC. I practically licked my bowl, so I decided to share the recipe.
What's nice about this recipe is that you can mess with the spices to make it spicier, I actually went a little outside of the "white" factor and put some hot sauce in mine, because I like it hot. I also kind of liked that it was soupier than the red chili I usually make. This recipe makes a ton -- about 8-10 cups, so there will be plenty for leftovers.

3 cups diced chicken (I used pre-cooked rotisserie chicken - it was GREAT)
3 15 oz cans Great Northern Beans
3 14 oz cans of reduced salt chicken broth
3 garlic cloves crushed
1 4 oz can green chilis
1 small onion, chopped
2 TBL cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
(1 4 oz can jalepeno peppers) optional
*reduced fat sour cream
* shredded cheddar cheese

You can either cook this in a slow cooker on high for 2 hours, or on the stove for about an hour. Add all of the ingredients together in one pot. Tastes even better with a bit of shredded cheese and sour cream on top. Serve with a side salad and crusty roll and you're good to go!

*wish I could give someone credit for this recipe, but I emailed it to myself a year or so ago, and I do not remember where I got it from!

Monday, January 11, 2010

How hard is it to get a good family photo anyway?

The coordinating new clothes usually tips them off.
Every year in the spring and winter, I like to get a good shot of all of the kids together. What can I say, it makes me happy to see how much everyone changes over the years. The process however, not so much.
They are used to me -- generally by the time we are finished, someone ends up in tears, someone is pouting, and someone is thoroughly ticked off. (I must admit I've been accused off becoming all three of those & more) You would never know it by the end result though! Usually I take at least 50 pictures. How is it that it's nearly impossible to get a shot of four kids smiling or at least looking in the same direction without ONE of them closing their eyes?
Really, those photos above aren't the bloopers, I would be in big trouble if I posted those (!!) --when we finally feel like we get at least a couple nice ones to choose from, I take a bunch of silly poses so they can blow off steam.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

the joy of Moustaches

(mustachio-ed mom and Alex, who looks somewhat like a crooked, fraudulent pizza-maker)

mous tache n. variant of mustache. an unshaven growth of hair on the upper lip. Whiskers. Face fungus.
ew. A face fungus among us.
I like when people say MOUS stache (like the moose), as opposed to MUS tache (like the mus). I find a good fake moustache particularly funny, and they always make me laugh. I especially enjoy randomly wearing them in the car when I go to pick my kids up from school.
(my boy Alex, or as I like to call him... Ron Burgundy)

Yesterday I was at the kitchen table and I glanced into the family room at this weird furry thing stuck randomly on the wall - "What is that weird furry thing stuck on the wall?" I asked my husband. Sure enough, after I got up and investigated, I found that it was in fact, a moustache. ANYWAY, that's what made me decide to post a few pics of my MOUSTACHIOED FAMILIO - we all definitely had some serious laughs over the course of a few days... wish I had even more pics. Next time for sure...
oh Brookie... comb your unruly 'stache!

Ali & the afro-prone T-bone, sporting his very own 'stache/beard - or bea-stache

always my funny girl in a suit ... the one and only Megster Moo

tween idol and the 80's

So my 12-yr-old son Alex has been trying out for 'Tween Idol. So far he made it past the first two rounds. 'Tween Idol is something put on by our middle school, like an American Idol-type of thing. I guess it's a pretty big deal.

I can't even believe he tried out -- he is so bold - what a little cutie my boy is.

The funny thing is, he loves music from when I was a kid -- (woohoo the 80's are BACK!). The first round, he tried out with a Michael Jackson song, (omg) "The Way You Make Me Feel." I had a poster of Michael Jackson on my wall when I was a teenager. When Alex sang it for me before-hand, he said, "Please don't laugh at me Mom, I am really nervous." It was so cute, and he was actually really good! (I didn't even laugh at him once) The next round, he had to sing two songs, and once again, he went 80's.

(check out the actual "pre-tons of plastic surgery" Michael Jackson in a yellow sweater vest poster I had on my wall)

He then did "Imagine," by John Lennon and then "Don't Stop Believin" by Journey. I swear all of this music he is singing around the house is giving me a constant flashback to my high school dances. I actually think I could live without some of THOSE horrifying memories!! I swear if he belts out Stairway to Heaven I just might pass out on the floor.

80's is just one part of his repertoire though - his ipod is much like my own, filled with everything from (GASP) Barbra Streisand (actually I don't have any Babs, but HE does - LOL) to Metallica to Green Day to the Cure. I love that he loves music, and is open to all kinds. He wants to make chorus "cool," so he and a few of his cool-ish buddies are up front and center on the risers, singing away when they aren't too busy giggling. He's just so confident, it makes me smile. I'll keep you posted on how he does...

Friday, January 8, 2010

RESOLUTIONS and such...

(1) Blog a lot more. And a lot more regularly.
(2) Continue working on book. Make a "writing calendar," as proposed by very talented fellow writer niece, Kasey.
(3) Play more games with the kids. Been doing a lot of boggle playing, Old Maid and Memory -- need more stimulation. Eyeballs are throbbing over Spongebob-themed Memory. I flat out refuse Monopoly, but I like Clue and Taboo, UNO is fun. Love boggle and scrabble. I have to work in an 8 year old and a 4 year old. I think I will buy a chess set.
(4) Cook dinner more regularly. Quit/reduce take-out. Make healthier meals. (is that three resolutions, or one general theme?)
(5) Take more time to enjoy the small stuff.
(6) Save more money. Put in place a simple & fool proof savings plan.
(7) Take more time to read.
(8) Get regular exercise plan in place. Yoga would be nice...
(9) Less TV time, more play time.
(10) Swap guest room/Meg's room, set up sewing machine.
(11) Use sewing machine.
(12) Ignore biological clock.
(13) House goals: Crown Mldg, fire place, refinish downstairs floors.
(14) Photography.
(15) Transfer all old photos to disc & clean up old computer.
(16) Send birthday cards/thank you notes on time.
(17) FIT at Forty.

(18) Cash for groceries. Plan grocery shopping - use coupons, less impulse buying.
(19) Down deep and dirty clean/organize one room per week for the next 12 weeks.
(20) Spend more QUALITY time with my husband and kids.
(21) Be as green as possible.

I think I will continue to add to this list.